Individualism In Wordsworth's Tintern Abbey

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The undue weightage provided by the Enlightenment ethics to the unmitigated use of one’s intellect, was claimed to have lead to the newfound zeal of individualism in men. Evils of despotism and hunger for power corrupted the functionings of the society. Napoleon, the ‘enlightened despot, is the embodiment of the Enlightenment ethics going ashtray. Needless to say, from thereon emerged a sense of dissatisfaction with the current scheme of things. With the realization that dry use of reason was no good for the overall development of mankind but only lead to an upsurge in hunger for power and likes of it, crept in the demands to a fuller and healthier perception of education and lifestyle. This would be the point of disruption that I mentioned…show more content…
(Wordsworth) These lines from ‘Tintern Abbey’, according me, summarize the very spirit of Romanticism in a nutshell. Sages who excel in theoretical knowledge are seen to be incompetent with respect to what the Nature has in offering. The latter was the only and true source of inspiration, and the poet figure who was also the “the unauthorized legislature of the world”, was considered to be divinely gifted due to his acute understanding of the natural world, much in contrast to the figure of the Enlightenment scholar, who exceled in the knowledge of books. Fortunately or unfortunately, life doesn’t work in polar extremes. Philosopher and critic Jacques Barzun argues that Romanticism basically had its roots in the Enlightenment. The former, he claimed, was not anti-rational, but rather it balanced the competing claims of rationality and intuition. This view is expressed in the painting- Goya's Sleep of Reason, in which the nightmarish owl offers the dozing scholar of Los Caprichos (derived from the word caprice) a piece of drawing chalk( as we can see below). Even the rational critic is inspired by irrational dream-content under the gaze of the meticulous- eyed lynx. This depicts a queer mix of Reason and the
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